Physical characteristics

In external appearance this rodent is somewhat squirrellike, although the tail is not bushy. It is shorter than the head body length and the last three quarters of it is covered with long hair, which do not fan out. They have short, blackish ears that are rather higher than broad. They have long black vibrissae. Data concerning size are meager with males: head and body length 10.9-14.0 in (27.9-36.0 cm); mass of

The dassie rat (Petromus typicus) is native to southwestern Africa. (Photo by John Visser. Bruce Coleman, Inc. Reproduced by permission.)

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Dassie rat (Petromus typicus). (Illustration by Michelle Meneghini)

Due to its extremely flexible ribs, the dassie rat (Petromus typicus) has the ability to flatten itself to fit into tiny rock crevices. (Photo by Nigel Dennis/African Reproduced by permission.)
The dassie rat (Petromys typicus) requires very little water. (Photo by Gerry Ellis/Minden Pictures. Reproduced by permission.)

two sub-adults 6.0 and 7.4 oz (170 and 212 g), and females: head and body length 9.9-14.0 in (25.3-35.8 cm); mass of two adult females 8.8 and 9.2 oz (251 and 262 g). Colors are geographically variable, and normally come in shades of brown, gray, or buff, with yellowish to dirty underparts. The front feet have four clawed toes with a short and rudimentary thumb. The five toes of the hind feet have short curved claws. The soles of the feet are naked with well-developed pads for moving on rocky substrates. They have a remarkable ability to flatten their bodies, due to flexible ribs and unusually flat skulls. The dental formula is (I1/1 C0/0, P1/1, M3/3) X 2 = 20.

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